Monday, July 16, 2012

HTH: Slow Progression

Things have slowed down, now that we have the basic necessities here at the new house (like internet, all my pots and pans, and my blender).  We do not quite have everything moved from the apartment, but there is very little left except furniture, and a lot of that we are donating to a charity, along with the enormous TV sets that we upgraded a long time ago, but never got rid of.

I know this doesn't have anything to do with homesteading, but we purchased a new living room set, consisting of a love seat, couch, and armchair.  Something I can vacuum under, finally, and doesn't fold out into a bed, or come in icky beige.

(Excuse the mess, I still haven't installed the speakers properly, or neatened up the cabling.)  I am not too sure about the armchair, which matches the sofa pillows and has a rather 60's retro feel to the fabric pattern.

We've placed it next to the fireplace, but are still undecided about the coffee table going there.  It received some damage during moving, so I'm either touching it up later, or replacing it altogether.

Now on to the even more fun stuff, gardening.  Something nibbled my pea plants... not all, but some of them, and some didn't sprout at all.

  I'm more concerned that most of my plants seem to reach their second or third "true leaf" stage, and then seem to stop thriving.  It has been raining every day for the past week, and doesn't show signs of letting up for the next three days, so perhaps they are suffering from over-watering.  I punctured all the bags at least sixteen times as per instructions, for drainage, but that IS a LOT of rain.

The bean plants, however, seem to be thriving.  One plant in particular has climbed spiral-fashion all the way to the top of the support teepee I put up.  These are scarlet runner beans, and they will have beautiful red flowers when they blossom.

I did not train it around the pole like that, it took care of it itself.  Mother nature is very cool.

And lastly, I (perhaps foolishly) decided to try a "three sisters" planting this late in the season.  It is an old Native American method, planting corn, beans, and squash together to work in harmony.  I skipped burying a fish at the base of each corn planting, however.  I suppose I could have cracked open a can of sardines, but hey...

It is planted in three stages.  What you see here is the first stage, corn (red heirloom popcorn, to be precise), planted in a circle with the plantings six inches apart.  I put two seeds in each hole, but have pinched off any extras that sprouted, leaving one.  The beige pellets are slow-release organic fertilizer bound with a plant starch.  I plan to work those into the mounds around the corn when they reach ten inches (the signal for the second stage) right before I plant the beans.  The way the corn is growing, I might not have to wait too long  for the second stage.

I chose Hidasta Shield beans, mostly because they are a Native American heirloom variety, and the seeds do look like they will cook up into a tasty dish once harvested.  They look sort of like large pinto beans.

I chose an heirloom variety of squash, the third "sister" plant, but I'm going to have to look it up again to give you the name.  I remember it bears a bright, red-orange fruit the size of an acorn squash.

I am starting to despair over my tomato plants.  Any that I left still in their pots are still a healthy green, but the ones planted in the bag garden are yellowing and wilting.  I am wondering if their roots, once reaching past the barrier of the bag and into the lawn, are hitting some old, leftover herbicide and it's making them sick.  My habanero plants are not thriving either.  I worked in a goodly amount of the organic fertilizer, but perhaps it's either the herbicide thing, or this endless rain is just too much for them.  I'm hoping once the rainy period is over, at least the peppers will bounce back.  There's not a lot of shame in failing with tomatoes... they can be finicky... but peppers should grow like weeds.  We'll see what happens.

Monday, July 2, 2012

HtH: Insect City

Well it's a good thing I did the easy care bag garden from my gardening book, otherwise I would be screwed.  A cloud of mosquitoes has descended on our house, blocking all exits, and generally making life very unpleasant.  I make two (very quick) trips through the garden, morning and night, and that's all I could manage.  I think my ankles haven't swelled this much since I was pregnant with Caitlin, only now it's some kind of mass attack through my socks.  Anyhoo, no real weeding needed yet, although the planting mix in the bags must have contained some kind of mushroom spoor, because they've popped up every morning so far.  I go kick them over, they pop right back.

This is the garden three days ago, post-planting.  I have not gotten new pictures since the peas and cucumbers came up (in the bags with a trellis), but I will be braving the cloud of insects later.  In the top picture, the five bags have my tomato plants, and the top four bags have my habanero peppers.  If I ever get a peach tree, I want to be ready to make my habanero-peach hot sauce.  It's deadly, but delicious.  Plus the big guy likes pickled peppers on everything... so lets try something a little hotter than a jalapeno and see where that takes us.

And one important photo...

My new fridge.  Sigh.  I did not know it had its own built-in water filter... and that makes me love it even more.  We had to take off pieces of trim and baseboard to fit it in the space, and I don't even care.

Edited to add:


Snap Peas

Scarlet Runner Beans